On April 3, 2019, the Mayor publicly stated that implementation of Proposition B will cost the City $79 million a year. This is a number that is significantly less than the $100 million Turner has been quoting for more than four months. Further, the $79 million quote also does not line up with Turner’s own proposal for a four-year “phasein” implementation plan that he released, proving yet again that the Mayor is unable to be truthful or factual on this, or any, issue.
In addition to his ever-changing cost estimates, something that even the City’s Controller had to ask for clarity on, Turner had the gall in a press conference to scold the media for not asking the Firefighters Union the questions that he wanted answered. Laying aside why a mayor would be asking firefighters about city budgeting issues, the real question is this: Why is this mayor trying to use the media as a go-between? Shouldn’t he, as the CEO of our city, be asking his questions for the union directly to the… union? This has gone on long enough.
Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee is calling the Mayor’s bluff on a “phase-in” being the only viable option to prevent firefighter layoffs. “Other than threatening layoffs or pitting employee groups against one another, what other cuts in his $6.7 billion budget has he proposed?,” asked Buzbee “How about cutting his bloated City staff, reducing the number of lawyers at City Hall, or canceling contracts that offer little to no value to the city? He fired these firefighters without any effort to cut unnecessary staff perks, without implementing a real hiring freeze, without modifications in the solid waste department or the parks department or the libraries, without asking the TIRZ’s to pay for their fair share of city services, without a real audit of the enterprise funds or TIRZ monies, without selling city property we don’t use, and without any attempt to restructure our debt,” Buzbee said. “He made NO effort.”
The City has spent millions in tax dollars training these cadets and is already paying overtime for employees of the fire department because of a shortage of firefighters. According to Buzbee,
“We made a commitment to them like they made to us. The time has come to fire Turner.”